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ARLINGTON, Va. — The 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Stewart, Ga., and the 42nd Infantry Division of the New York National Guard will make up the bulk of the third major rotation of U.S. forces into Iraq, senior Pentagon leaders confirmed this week.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, the Joint Staff’s director of operations, confirmed the two deployments, which have been widely forecast by military insiders.

Operation Iraqi Freedom 3 forces will be composed of 58 percent active troops and 42 percent reservists, Schwartz told lawmakers during a House Armed Services Committee hearing Wednesday on troop rotations. That is the largest proportion of reservists yet tapped for Iraq: During the current OIF 2, there are 61 percent active troops to 39 percent reserves; during OIF 1 the mix was 75 percent active troops and 25 percent reservists, he said.

Many of OIF 3’s reservists are with the 42nd ID, where about 3,000 soldiers have been activated and training at Fort Drum, N.Y., for the past three months.

The 42nd ID will take over for the 1st Infantry Division in north-central Iraq “in the December-to-February time frame,” Schwartz said.

If their replacements begin arriving in December, that means some soldiers from 1st Infantry Division, based in Würzburg, Germany, could be home before their one-year rotation date, since the Big Red One began deploying to the Middle East in early February.

But there are no guarantees, said Capt. William Coppernoll, a 1st ID spokesman.

“We’re planning on 365 days [from their original deployment], or until the mission’s done,” Coppernoll said in a telephone interview from Iraq. “There is no [redeployment] date that is set in stone."

Maj. Richard Goldenberg, a 42nd ID spokesman, said in a Friday telephone interview that the 42nd ID will command two 3rd ID brigade combat teams from Fort Stewart, Ga., as well as the 116th Cavalry Brigade, a National Guard unit from Boise, Idaho.

The other Germany-based Army unit now in Iraq, the 1st Armored Division, will be replaced by elements of Fort Drum’s 10th Mountain Division, Schwartz said.

The 1st AD has been deployed for more than a year and is preparing to return to Germany from its latest position in south-central Iraq.

But the 1st AD won’t be out of the fight: One of the division’s two U.S.-based “round-out” brigades, the 3rd Brigade from Fort Riley, Kan., will be sent to the Baghdad area for OIF 3, Schwartz said.

The 3rd ID’s soldiers, who will take over in and around Baghdad for the 1st Cavalry Division, are no strangers to that city: About 12,000 of the division’s soldiers moved into Baghdad in early April 2002.

The division eventually ended up in Fallujah, where its tour was extended repeatedly; soldiers were sent home in late August 2003.

The 3rd ID’s Division headquarters will command two brigades of the division, as well as the 256th Infantry Brigade of the Louisiana National Guard.

But the other two maneuver brigades of the 3rd ID will come under command of the 42nd Infantry Division.

For the Marines, meanwhile, the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force will take over for the 1st MEF, which has three Marine regiments in Iraq, Schwartz said.

— Steve Liewer contributed to this story from Germany.


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